Wednesday, May 27, 2009
How to make Candied Winter Melon aka Tung Kua(冬瓜糖)
It has been a long while since we last made the candied winter melon (冬瓜糖) at home. In most instances it is easier to purchase commercially glazed melon when it is required. Furthermore it takes about at least three to five days before it is ready to be used. Even through, I still want to share this recipe with those people who want to have homemade candied winter melon and for Ange of France, who may have difficulty buying them. Besides its many culinary uses such as making the rice dumpling filling, it is often included in the circular or octagonal nuts and candied fruits tray during the Chinese New Year. This tray is offered to all guests to eat while visiting and is called the “eight treasures tray” to bring good luck for the New Year.
Candied or crystallized winter melon is made by cooking it in heavy syrup until it becomes transparent. Basically the method is simply to place the melon in increasingly stronger solutions of heated sugar syrup, and the syrup gradually replaces the water content of the melon. This is not an easy procedure, since the concentration of the syrup must be carefully controlled. The syrup must penetrate to the inside of the fruit so that the fruit can be preserved to keep for a long period. The procedure involves the following:
Remove the outer green skin of the wintermelon and cut approximately 500g winter melon into 5cm sticks just like potato chips.
Blanched melon by putting into a pot of fresh water with 1 tsp of baking soda, and bring to a rapid boil for 1 minutes.
Transfer the melon to a colander to drain.
Heat 750g of sugar with ½ Litre of water in a shallow pan until dissolved.
Bring the syrup to the boil. Turn down heat to low.
Transfer the drained melon to the pot of syrup.
Press a round of greaseproof paper on top of the melon to immerse the fruit in the syrup.
Bring the syrup slowly to a simmer and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes; do not let it boil.
Take the pan from the heat and allow cooling.
Leave it in the syrup for 24 hours whilst leaving the fruit undisturbed.
Carefully lift the fruit from the syrup and leave to drain for 30 minutes.
Transfer the fruit to paper towels and leave until dry,and store in an airtight container.